BJP’s Uttar Pradesh election in-charge Amit Shah on Saturday said Narendra Modi would file his papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat on April 24 and, in the same breath, fired a broadside at the Congress for fielding former BJP legislator Ajay Rai against him.
BJP leader Amit Shah addresses a press conference in Varanasi. (PTI Photo)
“I wonder why the Congress couldn’t find a cleaner candidate against Modi. I think Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi need to explain this,” Shah, whose campaign ban has just been lifted by the election commission, said in Lucknow.
He was reacting to news in a section of the media about an 82-page report in 2003 by then Bihar DGP DP Ojha about Rai being accused of buying AK-47 rifles from underworld don Shahabuddin in Bihar. Rai is a former BJP legislator from the Kolasala segment of Varanasi.
Shah clarified that if elected to power, the BJP or BJP-led NDA government won’t bring down the UP government: “I had said this government would fall on its own after our massive win”.
The clarification came after BJP chief Rajnath Singh’s statement that when in power, his party won’t indulge in undemocratic means to dismiss elected governments.
On remarks by many BJP leaders that certain Samajwadi Party MLAs were in touch with them, Shah said: “Anyone can remain in touch with anyone. That way it’s a possibility that all 200 MLAs could be in touch. What’s wrong with that?”
He refuted reports that BJP cadres were creating problems for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is fighting Modi in Varanasi. “Everyone is free to campaign,” Shah said, adding that after Modi files nomination, the wave in favour of BJP would turn into a “tsunami”.
Predicting a great performance in UP (he claimed the BJP would win 18 of the 21 seats that went to polls so far), Modi’s trusted lieutenant rubbished reports that the state unit was responsible for the ticket distribution mess. He said: “I don’t think anyone is responsible. In any case, the central election committee finalises tickets.”
On the campaign ban which has since been revoked, Shah said: “I hadn’t made the speeches with the intent of creating problem. But the election commission is a constitutional body and has a right to interpret it. In any case, once in a while a bowler does bowl a no-ball. That’s it. Much water has flown down the Ganga since then.”